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An amazing repository of technological detritus is closing forever

An amazing repository of technological detritus is closing forever
[Photo: Harry McCracken]

Since 1986, the WeirdStuff Warehouse has been a place where, it seemed, you could find any computer, gadget, software, or related accessory ever manufactured if you just spent enough time scouring its aisles. (I swear there’s an Apple-1 in there somewhere.) Sadly, the vast salvage shop–located near Yahoo in Sunnyvale–is closing on Sunday, robbing Silicon Valley of a treasure I can’t imagine existing anywhere else. I paid my respects during one last visit today and saw, among countless other wonders:

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  • VCR Plus, the handy-dandy remote control that let you program your VCR by punching in codes
  • Both Web TV and Web Pal, two different ways people browsed the internet on their TVs in the 1990s
  • Some copies of Windows Vista that were among the few things in the place under lock and key
  • An unopened Columbia House Kris Kristofferson album on eight-track
  • An iMac whose LCD was missing, revealing the circuitry and hard drive once hidden behind the screen
  • A networking switch from a company called Blonder Tongue, which has been around since 1950 and was indeed founded by a Mr. Blonder and Mr. Tongue
  • An incredible selection of obsolete storage devices and media–Zip, Jaz, SyQuest, and on and on
  • All the stuff you’d expect to find in a store like this, from typewriters to Power Macs to every cable ever used to connect anything to something else

[Photo: Harry McCracken]
I’ve rhapsodized about WeirdStuff before, in a 2010 slide show and a 2014 story in which I said I hoped to be shopping at the place 20 years in the future. I’m sorry that won’t be the case–and glad that I got to go spelunking as often as I did.

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